Thursday, March 31, 2016

#Wolves of the Day

Three Amigos On The Prowl 
Three Amigos On The Prowl by Raul Baron

Update from ODFW--4 wolves of the Imnaha Park shot and killed

UPDATE March 31, 2016: The four wolves of the Imnaha pack associated with recent depredations were shot and killed today by ODFW staff on private land in Wallowa County.

Update from ODFW: Depredations lead to lethal control for wolves in Wallowa County

March 31, 2016

SALEM, Ore.— ODFW has confirmed five livestock depredation incidents on private land within the past three weeks by some wolves in the Imnaha pack, despite continued efforts by ODFW, Wallowa County officials, and area livestock producers to deter wolf-livestock conflict with non-lethal measures. With the pack now involved in chronic livestock depredation and as part of implementation of Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan provisions, ODFW will lethally remove depredating wolves to reduce the likelihood of further losses.

Information from two collared wolves--OR4, the alpha male and OR39, the alpha female--indicate that they and another two younger wolves have regularly used an area of private land on the westernmost portion of their known home range.  While infrequent visits were historically made to the area by this pack, the near continual use of the area at this time of year is a marked departure from the pack’s normal pattern. Coinciding with this changed pattern, ODFW documented livestock depredation by the pack in investigations on March 9, March 25, two more  (see report 1 and 2) on March 28 and one more on March 30.

ODFW received a lethal order request after the March 9 depredation, but did not authorize it. At that time, the Imnaha Pack had not been involved in depredation since the previous October and ODFW didn’t characterize the situation as chronic. That changed when the pack killed or injured livestock in four additional incidents over the past week, bringing the total to six separate incidents within five months. ODFW received another lethal order request after the March 25 depredation.

“Unfortunately members of the Imnaha wolf pack are once again involved in chronic livestock depredation, and ODFW is adhering to the Plan and protecting the interests of area livestock producers,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. “Spring is typically the time when depredation increases. Even more cattle and sheep will be on these private lands soon as calving and lambing season continues, increasing the risk for even more losses from this group of depredating wolves.”

Under the rules associated with the Wolf Plan in Phase II, ODFW can authorize lethal control of wolves at a property owner or permittee’s request if a) the agency confirms at least two depredations on livestock in the area;  b) the requester has documented unsuccessful attempts to solve the situation through non-lethal means; c) no identified circumstance exists that attracts wolf-livestock conflict; and d) the requester has complied with applicable laws and the conditions of any permit.

In the current Wallowa County situation, non-lethal measures were being used when the depredations occurred and there were no bone piles or other attractants present. The preventive measures for the sheep producer included midnight spotlighting, three livestock protection dogs with the sheep 24 hours per day, three-per-day checks of livestock and a range rider patrolling the area and hazing the wolves when found. For cattle, delayed pasture rotation to keep animals closer to a public road, pasturing yearlings with cows, frequent checks in association with calving cattle, and patrolling/hazing by a range rider were used.

While ODFW documented eight wolves in the Imnaha Pack for 2015, the department believes the pack has grown and that four of the wolves (the alpha male and female and two younger wolves) have separated from the rest of the pack. These four have been travelling together in this area and are associated with the four recent depredations on private land. Meanwhile, other members of the pack have been spending time in an area separated from the four depredating wolves. They are not known to be involved in the chronic depredation patterns and are not subject to the lethal control order. ODFW will focus lethal control efforts on the wolves linked to the depredations.

Morgan believes the Imnaha group of wolves could be splitting up and that age and physical condition may be playing a role in the depredation. The alpha male is nearly 10 years old and the alpha female has been known to limp since she first appeared a few years ago. “As wolves grow old, or if they are injured, they are unable to hunt traditional wild prey as they have in the past,” said Morgan. “This could be playing a role in the pack’s recent behavior.”

This will be the third time ODFW has used lethal control for wolves since they returned to the state in the early 2000s. Two wolves were killed after a number of losses in Baker County in 2009, and two wolves from the Imnaha pack were removed in 2011 due to chronic livestock depredation.
Despite today’s announcement, Oregon’s wolf population as a whole is growing. ODFW documented 110 known wolves at the end of 2015, a 36 percent increase over 2014. 

“This is the tough part of the job, but we believe lethal control is the right decision in this situation,” continued Morgan. “Wildlife managers must strike a balance between conserving wolves and minimizing impacts on livestock. This action in response to this situation will not affect the continued positive wolf population growth we are seeing across Oregon.”

For more information on wolves, visit
Contact: Michelle Dennehy or Richard Hargrave
Oregon Fish and Wildlife or
(503) 947-6022 or (503) 947-6020


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#Wolves of the Day

Nature Walk 
Nature Walk by Raul Baron

Oregon AG: Wolf delisting bill likely moots case

- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Two weeks after the signing of new legislation that upholds in state law the delisting of the gray wolf as endangered, Oregon’s top attorney has now launched an effort to end wolf advocates’ lawsuit once and for all.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a notice with the state appellate court on Monday, using an attached copy of the new law, House Bill 4040, as justification for why wolf advocates’ complaint against the state is likely no longer relevant.

This is what conservative lawmakers hoped to accomplish with HB 4040 - among the most contentious bills of the year - and what environmentalists had feared. In December environmentalists sued state wildlife officials over their decision to remove the gray wolf from the state’s Endangered Species Act list, saying the decision was premature.

Nothing is settled yet and the judge will have the final say. But parties on both sides agree the situation is gloomy for the wolf advocates’ case.

“We don’t have a next step yet,” said Arran Robertson, a spokesman for Oregon Wild, adding they’ll be discussing a game-plan this week with the other environmentalists that are part of the suit.

The issue dates back to November, when the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission determined the gray wolf’s population was robust enough to remove the species from the state’s endangered list.

Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity followed with their lawsuit, arguing the commission used flawed scientific evidence and the delisting decision should therefore be independently re-examined.

That’s where HB 4040 - backed by the Oregon Cattleman’s Association and others concerned with wolves’ attacks on livestock - comes into play.

HB 4040 essentially says the commission did everything it was supposed to do by law in reaching its final decision to delist. That’s the very thing wolf advocates want re-examined, but with the Legislature’s seal of approval now established in state law, their “challenge is likely moot,” Rosenblum wrote in Monday’s court filing.

Rosenblum’s filing - submitted about a week after the wildlife commission began revising its wolf management plan - stands in contrast to the way HB 4040 was initially portrayed at the Legislature in early February.

In hearings, GOP lawmakers in the Oregon House repeatedly denied claims that the intent was to end the lawsuit.

“Does this basically prevent litigation? … and the answer that I have come up with, or the answer that I could find was, no it doesn’t,” Rep. Greg Baretto, a Republican who helped sponsor HB 4040, said during a Feb. 12 House floor session when the bill was up for vote.

“They can still have their day in court. But what this does is it’ll allow the Legislature to affirm or agree with this commission, this Fish and Wildlife Commission, that has basically approved delisting, and that is what this bill does.”

Rep. Chris Gorsek, a Democrat, was among the first vocal critics, who followed Baretto’s comments during that February floor session by saying, “I’m concerned that the Legislature is being asked to step in a process that could involve any endangered species … it’s not about the wolf, it’s about due process.”


Study Shows Cold and Windy Nights Physically Drain Mangy Wolves

Released: 3/29/2016

Researchers at the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center and their partners place thermal remote cameras near deer and elk carcasses in Yellowstone National Park to capture images of wolves with mange feeding in the wild. Red-colored blotches in the thermal images reveal areas of hair loss from which wolves with mange lose heat. Researchers at the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center and their partners place thermal remote cameras near deer and elk carcasses in Yellowstone National Park to capture images of wolves with mange feeding in the wild. Red-colored blotches in the thermal images reveal areas of hair loss from which wolves with mange lose heat.

Note the bright red patch on the wolf's hindquarters in this thermal image of a captive wolf at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. This is where fur was shaved to replicate the loss of fur associated with sarcoptic mange. The fur will eventually grow back. USGS scientists are examining thermal imagery of wolves as one step in assessing impacts of sarcoptic mange on the survival, reproduction and social behavior of this species in Yellowstone National Park. All research animals are handled by following the specific requirements of USGS Animal Care and Use policies.
Researchers at the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center and their partners place thermal remote cameras near deer and elk carcasses in Yellowstone National Park to capture images of wolves with mange feeding in the wild. Red-colored blotches in the thermal images reveal areas of hair loss from which wolves with mange lose heat.
Researchers at the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center and their partners place thermal remote cameras near deer and elk carcasses in Yellowstone National Park to capture images of wolves with mange feeding in the wild. Red-colored blotches in the thermal images reveal areas of hair loss from which wolves with mange lose heat.
During winter, wolves infected with mange can suffer a substantial amount of heat loss compared to those without the disease, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners.

Using a remotely triggered thermal camera to capture vivid and colorful images, scientists gathered body temperature data from mange-infected gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park and compared that to a sample group of healthy captive wolves with shaved patches of fur to simulate mange-induced hair loss. Using these data, scientists were able to quantify the level of heat loss, or energetic costs, during the winter months.

Results show that a more severe mange infection could increase heat loss by around 1240 to 2850 calories per night which represent roughly 60-80 percent of the average wolf’s daily caloric needs.

“That lost heat has to be replaced, otherwise the wolves’ core body temperatures would be getting colder,” said Paul Cross, USGS ecologist and lead author of the study.

“To replace that lost heat wolves would need the equivalent of about two to four extra pounds of elk meat per day.”

Sarcoptic mange, present in one of 10 known packs in Yellowstone as of 2015, is a skin disease caused by a mite that burrows into the skin, causing irritation and scratching that then leads to hair loss. Researchers engineered the remotely-triggered thermal camera for use in Yellowstone to record the surface temperatures of wolves with and without mange-induced hair loss. Those images could then be compared with images from healthy, captive wolves. In addition, field crews observed or photographed all radio-collared wolves and their pack mates for the purpose of recording infection status.

The study also found that increased wind speed was a more significant factor in heat loss than colder temperatures. To compensate for the extra heat loss, infected wolves would need to increase food consumption in addition to other daily energy demands for survival. For wolves with mange this is more difficult as hair loss and depressed vigor leaves them vulnerable to hypothermia, malnutrition and dehydration, which can eventually lead to death.

Data from GPS-collared wolves in Yellowstone indicated that wolves with mange reduce daily movement distances depending on the degree of infection. In addition, the wolf with the most hair loss became more active during the day than during the twilight hours, which is opposite behavior of a healthy wolf.

“By definition, parasites drain energy from their hosts. In this study we estimated just one portion of the energetic costs of infection,” said Cross. “Even when parasites do not kill their hosts they are affecting the energy demands of their hosts, which could alter consumption rates, food web dynamics, predator-prey interactions and scavenger communities.”

Mange was introduced into the Northern Rockies in the early 1900s by the Montana state wildlife veterinarian in an attempt to help eradicate local wolf and coyote populations. The disease persists in coyotes and foxes and once wolves were reintroduced into the ecosystem in 1995-96, they appeared to be free of mange until 2002.

The article “Energetic costs of mange in Yellowstone wolves estimated from infrared thermography” is published in Ecology.

The study is a collaborative effort between the USGS, Pennsylvania State University, University of Western Australia, Yellowstone National Park, University of Wollongong, NWB Sensors Inc. and Montana State University.

More information about wolf disease studies can found on the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center website.

This video describes USGS research utilizing remote thermal imaging cameras to study the extent and impact of mange on wolves in Yellowstone National Park.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#Wolf of the Day

Arctic Wolf 
Arctic Wolf by Marc McDermott


WI Governor May Endorse Presidential Candidate Before Signing Wolf Hunt Law

Gov. Scott Walker (Midwest Communications)
Gov. Scott Walker (Midwest Communications)
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WSAU) -- Governor Scott Walker is apparently ready to weigh in on the remaining Presidential candidates.

The Governor's office has announced that Walker will say who he supports during a segment of a Milwaukee radio station's morning show, just before he makes an appearance at a Rothschild business Tuesday morning. Several pundits predict Walker will endorse Ted Cruz, who made several complimentary remarks about Walker during a Rothschild campaign stop Monday.

Walker will be speaking to the staff at Chase Outdoors at 9:15 AM before signing Assembly Bill 700 into law. Assembly Bill 700 won't have an immediate effect, since it changes the dates and the language of the law for wolf hunting and trapping. The new law, once signed, will require the Department of Natural Resources to establish a wolf hunting and trapping season if those wolves are not listed on the endangered species lists. Right now, wolves are considered an endangered species due to a Michigan judge's ruling last year. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota officials are working to overturn the federal judge's ruling.

Once signed, the new law will set the annual open season for wolf hunting and trapping from October 15 of each year in which wolf hunting and trapping is allowed to the first Saturday in November of each year in which wolf hunting and trapping is allowed.

Governor Walker is traveling around the state signing many bills into law. Yesterday, Walker signed new laws that will help make higher education more affordable for Wisconsin families. The first one provides an additional 500-thousand-dollars in funding this year and next for grants to technical college students. The second one creates a grant program for financial emergencies to be used by students in two-year campuses and the technical college system.


3 attacks by Oregon wolf pack could spur lethal action

Zach Urness, Statesman Journal , 
March 29, 2016
Three attacks on livestock by a wolf pack in northeast Oregon this month could lead to lethal action against the Imnaha Pack.

State officials determined the pack was responsible for killing two calves on Sunday, bringing the total number of livestock killed in March to four animals in the Upper Swamp Creek area of Wallowa County.

The livestock operator affected by the attacks, who has not been named, has requested that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife take lethal action against the pack.

Lethal action can be considered following two confirmed depredations.

The department last took lethal action against wolves in 2011,  when two wolves, also from the Imnaha Pack, were euthanized by Fish and Wildlife officials. In 2009, state officials killed two wolves known as the Keating Pair. Both were euthanized following livestock depredation.

However, ODFW does not always take lethal action. Last year, the Mount Emily pack was blamed for five depredations and no lethal action was taken.

On Sunday morning, a livestock producer reported finding two dead calves in the same area where two previous attacks by the Imnaha Pack had taken place.

GPS radio‐collar data indicated that wolves OR4 and OR39 were in the immediate area that night, according to ODFW reports on the incident.

"The locations, as well as the number and size of the bite wounds are similar to those observed on other confirmed cattle depredations by wolves," the report by ODFW said. "This combined with the presence of wolf tracks and confirmed presence of Imnaha Pack wolves at the site were adequate to confirm the (calves) as a confirmed wolf depredation."\

In a previous attack, investigated on March 9, ODFW reported that Imnaha Pack wolves killed a calf. On March 25, the wolves were deemed responsible for killing an adult ram (sheep).


Wolves kill cattle in Absarokee area; Wildlife Services looks to eradicate pack

Two yearling heifers were killed by wolves near Absarokee on March 25, prompting Wildlife Services to set leg-hold snares near the cattle carcasses.
The same Rosebud pack killed a yearling on a neighboring ranch along Fiddler Creek at the base of the Beartooth Front two months ago, according to John Steuber, state director of Montana Wildlife Services. The pack was also blamed for killing two calves last year — one in May and one in July.
Two wolves in the pack were killed by Wildlife Services after the January depredation. Since the pack continues to kill livestock, Wildlife Services will attempt to eradicate the entire pack.
"At this point, they all need to be removed," Steuber said.
Despite the removals, the pack grew from three to six members as other wolves have migrated in, he said.
At the end of 2015, Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported that 44 cattle had been killed by wolves in Montana, 14 were injured and nine were probably killed by wolves but it couldn't be verified. Wolves also killed 21 sheep and two horses. Livestock deaths by wolves were up from 2014 when only 35 cows, six sheep and one horse were killed.
In response to the 2015 livestock deaths, Wildlife Services killed 32 wolves while landowners shot 10. Another nine wolves died from other causes.
In 2014 Montana's wolf numbers were down to 554 wolves in 134 packs. Between the 2013 and 2014 hunting seasons 213 wolves were killed by hunters.


Congressional Bill Pushes to Expand Trophy Hunting Access…You Can Help Stop it

For the past several years, special interest groups have been trying to push through a harmful piece of federal legislation – the so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” or “SHARE Act.”  Although similar bills have been introduced in previous years, the current version of the SHARE Act (H.R. 2406) contains the most devastating language for wildlife yet.
Despite its misleading title, the SHARE Act contains very few measures that would actually benefit typical rank-and-file sportsmen and instead caters to trophy hunters, poachers and trappers.

Opening Public, Protected Land to Hunters

Touting the (false) need to expand access to land for trophy hunting, fishing, and shooting, the bill mandates that federal agencies automatically keep nearly all federal public land “open unless closed” to these activities – with zero regard for the millions of Americans that visit these lands to watch, rather than kill, wildlife. The bill goes on to, for the first time in a federal statute, include trapping in the definition of “hunting.”  This means that the SHARE Act would open up untold millions of acres of public lands to trapping.
Millions of animals fall victim to painful traps (including wire snares and steel-jawed legholds) every year – including mountain lions, wolves, and bobcats.  Notoriously non-selective, it’s not uncommon for traps to catch and kill threatened and endangered species or even family pets. Nine states and over 80 countries currently ban or restrict recreational trapping with body-gripping traps. Allowing such an enormous expansion of this archaic activity is a huge step backwards, and one that flies in the face of the public interest.
The bill also strips the authority of several federal agencies to protect people, wildlife and habitat from lead poisoning through exposure to toxic lead ammunition. There’s no debate over the devastating impact that lead poisoning can have on human health – highlighted now more than ever by the tragic situation in Flint, MI. It’s mind-boggling that Congress would want to take steps to prevent an agency from regulating such a toxic substance.

Giving Bail Out to Trophy Hunters

The SHARE Act would also grant a bailout to trophy hunters who have been petitioning Congress for nearly a decade to allow them to import the heads and hides of 41 sport-hunted polar bears they shot in Canada. These wealthy and elite individuals flew to Canada and dropped a cool $40,000 to shoot an animal they knew was on the cusp of gaining federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. In fact, they were given multiple warnings by hunting organizations and government agencies, but still went ahead with their hunts with the full knowledge they might not be able to import their trophies – and now they’re crying to Congress to fix it? Allowing this Congressional carve-out sets an awful precedent for allowing the importation of species on the verge of receiving federal protections.

Poachers Have a Lot to Gain in the SHARE Act

Others who stand to gain a lot from this legislation are poachers, thanks to language that would block the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) from finalizing and implementing a rule that would crack down on the illegal ivory trade by closing loopholes that allow ivory to enter the United States’ commercial market. Elephants are facing a global crisis right now thanks to demand for their tusks, and it’s essential that the USFWS be allowed to finish and implement this rule.

Putting Wolves at Risk

As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, Members of Congress also attached a myriad of detrimental amendments to the SHARE Act. Among the most appalling was one to remove ESA protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes Region and in Wyoming. The USFWS is responsible for making science-based decisions on which animals need federal protections; this is not Congress’ decision. To make matters worse, this amendment also subverts the judicial process by ignoring two federal court rulings putting an end to overzealous wolf killing programs in the region. Just over one year ago, Michigan voters demonstrated their support for wolf conservation when they took a stand against wolf hunts, voting down two ballot measures legalizing hunts in their state. Congressional delisting sets a very troubling precedent. If this is signed into law, it would set the stage for wolves in these states to, once again, fall victim to steel-jawed traps, cable snares, baiting and packs of trailing hounds.
Additional amendments block federal agencies from protecting native carnivores in Alaska from horrific killing methods – including trapping and snaring bears, shooting brown bears over bait, killing bear cubs and aerial gunning of bears.
The SHARE Act is basically a smorgasbord of helpful goodies for trophy hunters and poachers, whether it’s through attacks against polar bears, elephants, or wolves. By catering to a small subset of the population, the SHARE Act would roll back longstanding federal environmental and public land laws, eliminating important protections that have been in place for decades.
This legislation is bad for wildlife, the environment and the American people.

What Can You Do?

Please ask your U.S. Senators to oppose the SHARE Act and its companion bill, the Sportsmen’s Act, if either of them comes to a vote in the Senate.

Image source: kesava/Imgur


Saturday, March 26, 2016

#Wolf of the Day

european wolf hoenderdaell JN6A4990 
European wolf by safi kok

How California really welcomed the wolves! (cartoon)

@Tom Meyer/


Celebrate the return of wolves to California

No question, wolves have a reputation problem. 

Even after hunters decimated their numbers throughout America almost a century ago, wolves cannot shake their starring role as shady characters in black. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. A lone wolf. The wolves of Wall Street.

All bad, bad, bad. 

After decades without native wolves in California, a lone wolf crossed from Oregon into Siskiyou County in 2012, and now the first confirmed wolf pack is back. They made a cunning choice.

The re-emergence of wolves is a welcome success story of the Endangered Species Act. Some 2 million of them once lived on this continent, but only a few thousand remain. Yet the oft-maligned wolf is still a hot-button topic pitting hunters and livestock ranchers against conservationists.

The new California wolf pack, known as the Shasta Pack, picked friendly territory, with protection via the state’s endangered species act. Life has not been so friendly elsewhere of late. Oregon just enacted a state law that not only takes the wolf off that state’s endangered species list but limits any court intervention. Hunts in other states have thinned the recently growing ranks. 

Congress, meanwhile, has its sights set on the misnamed Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, passed by the House, which would open up hunting of wolves in the Great Lakes region, with likely expansion to the West. It also would tie the hands of courts to intervene.

Yet wolves are blamed for more than their fair share of damage. While wolves do kill livestock and must be managed, the wolf is less of a threat than coyotes and diseases. 

The wolf is a native predator able to keep other populations in check, dining on mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep and coyotes. Thinning deer herds also benefits forests, allowing them to thrive. 

With the number of gray wolves on the upswing in northern states, the Obama administration attempted to remove them from the federal endangered species list, but federal courts eventually overruled that move. The Humane Society reports that during the three years the wolves lacked protection in the Great Lakes region, 1,500 were slaughtered. 

Livestock die from disease and weather-related causes more often than from any predator, but ranchers must be protected, too, as the nation allows a species to recover. 

That’s why other states and the federal government created funds to help ranchers who lose livestock to wolves. Of course livestock aren’t the only domestic animals at risk. Hunting dogs and pets also come into deadly contact with wolves.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has extensive information online to help residents understand wolves better and stay safe. “Wild wolves generally fear people and rarely pose a threat to human safety,” the department’s website notes. Still, the U.S. has had two fatalities since 2000. Then again, cows kill 20 people per year.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is well prepared to assess risk and properly manage the re-emergence of wolves in the Golden State. It has a good working start on developing a final plan. 

Now is the time to celebrate the successful return of native creatures that plays an important role in maintaining ecological balance, not look for new opportunities to slaughter them.

Wyoming wolf pack reduced to prevent cattle loss

Mar 25, 2016
JACKSON, Wyo. - 
 The Dell Creek Wolf Pack started killing livestock in late January between Pinedale and Hoback, so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took action.
Buckrail reports the federal agency has been monitoring this particular pack for years, but they don't typically cause problems, according to the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Coordinator Mike Jimenez.
"The pack lives in an area where there are tons of elk because of state-managed feedgrounds, so there is no shortage of prey and for whatever reason, the pack began killing last year's calves on private land," he said.
The pack, which was about 16 wolves, started to take down calves 500 to 600 pounds in size. As a result, the agency killed two wolves at the end of February and three more a few weeks later, bringing the pack size down to 11.
"We have been doing this for the last 25 years and have published papers and quite a bit of research on it," said Jimenez. "What we find is that one of the issues is that for wolves that are constantly exposed to livestock, larger packs can be really problematic."
"What has worked well is to reduce pack size. A pack of 16 wolves causes way more problems than a pack of 10 wolves," he added.
The bodies of the killed wolves were donated to various organizations for research.
"The population is alive and healthy, it is robust," said Jimenez. "Wolves are continually expanding, so that part has been achieved and we just try to minimize these conflicts."

Feature Photo: Photo by Holly Kuchera / shutterstock / Pitchengine Communities


Rancher prepares cattle for wolf country

A central Washington rancher is readying for another year with his cattle living beside wolves. Last summer, he was the first in his area to lose two cows to the predators.
Spring is Sam Kayser's most fragile month all year. There are calves everywhere, some only a day old.
"We have five or 600 by the time they're all born. When it all starts, you'll have three or four a day, and now on a busy day will have 20 or 30 calves a day," he said.
Most are healthy and run with the wind that blows through the Kittitas pastures, but some fall sick or get hurt and need extra attention.
"You can get emotionally bonded with them, you heal them up when they're sick."
They're cute, but they're also Kayser's livelihood. His family ranch has raised cattle on the land in Kittitas for decades.
For the first time last year, though, he dealt with a predator he'd only heard about.
"I was afraid it was going to happen sooner or later," he said.
Washington's wolves are growing in number. By the end of last year, there were 90 across the state, in 18 packs. They continue to move west.
The wolves in the pack closest to the Cascades, the Teanaway pack, are Kayser's new neighbors.
"This fence does not keep the predators out, but it keeps them where we can keep an eye on them," Kayser said as he closed the pasture gate.
Soon, the cows won't have the fence. Kayser will truck them to the mountains near Cle Elum in a few months.
It's where the Teanaway pack lives. Last year, the wolves killed two of his cows. One was a few months old, but the other was full grown and weighed 1,100 pounds.
The breeding female in the pack was poached in 2014, and research has shown that losing the alpha female or male can throw a pack’s behavior into disarray.
"When they go up to the mountains, they won't us have us around to protect them, but they will be bigger. Depends on how many wolves attack them at once."
Death is a part of life on a ranch. Kayser recently located a dead cow near a creek, likely a result of her pregnancy.
But death by wolf, for a rancher, usually isn't the same.
"When the wolf kills your animal it's something that you really didn't bargain for. It's just as if a poacher came and shot your cow," Kayser said.
It's also different because this time the state owes him money. Kayer signed a controversial contract some ranchers won't. It requires the state to pay him when the protected predators kill his livestock.
After months of phone calls to clarify, Kayser is still waiting for his money.
"It makes me a lot less accepting of having them around. In the sense that, I want to believe there's room out there for all of us, but I don't think I should bear the financial burden," he said.
Trust between ranchers and the government is shifting as wolves settle into the landscape. For some it's blowing away, but others are accepting that predators are also important, and that just like the cattle, wolves are here to stay.
Kayser participates in Conservation Northwest's Range Rider program. It's a non-lethal way to track and deter the wolves away from cattle. KING 5 will join them later this spring when the cows are moved closer to the Teanaway wolf pack.


#Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up by @Defenders of Wildlife

Wolf, © ODFW
Fighting for Wildlife in Grand Teton
On Wednesday, Defenders, Earthjustice and Wyoming Wildlife Advocates filed a legal challenge to the National Park Service’s 2014 decision to give the state of Wyoming wildlife management authority on private and state-owned inholdings inside Grand Teton National Park. The decision has already led to the killing of bison within park boundaries and exposes a host of park wildlife, including coyotes and foxes, to unregulated killing as vermin under state law. This unprecedented decision potentially exposes wildlife residing in Grand Teton—including (in the event of endangered species delisting) grizzly bears and wolves—to state-authorized hunting, baiting, and trapping. It also sets a dangerous precedent for the numerous other national parks that contain private or state-owned inholdings. The law is clear that wildlife is protected within national parks even where there are private or state lands located within a park. Defenders and our partners are asking a judge to enforce the law to protect Grand Teton and to prevent this terrible precedent from spreading to other National Parks across the country.

Coexistence in China
A new study in Biological Conservation revealed that livestock depredation losses in Qomolangma (Mt. Everest) Nature Reserve in China only accounted for 1.2% of total livestock loss – in other words, predators had a relatively small effect on livestock in the reserve. The study was unique in that it also included conflict reports and interviews with local officials and nearly 100 residents to get their views on human-predator interactions and whether they thought they were fairly compensated for their losses. Most of the people interviewed thought that their losses were due to an increase in predators in the area (lynxes, wolves and snow leopards), and researchers found the compensation process to be highly flawed. To enhance wildlife management, the researchers recommended a new coexistence approach that better addressed the complex social and economic aspects of conflicts between people and wildlife. These types of studies are important, because they help inform and improve the approach to coexistence in other parts of the world as well. Learn about our coexistence work with ranchers and wolves here.

For wolves in Yellowstone, opposites attract
A study published in Evolution has found a strong correlation for what is called negative-assortative mating among wolves in Yellowstone. Put simply, black wolves and gray wolves tend to pair up with each other, instead of wolves of the same color. This fascinating finding leads to plenty of follow up questions: is negative-assortative mating a phenomenon among all wolves, or just the wolves of Yellowstone? Why does it occur? Does it have an effect on wolf survival? Do these color cues it help wolves avoid inbreeding? We may not know the answers just yet, but what we do know that the Yellowstone wolves are an American success story 21 years after the first wolves released into the park-and they still need our help. Read here about the 20th anniversary of the Yellowstone wolf release!

Micro-sanctuaries key to survival of wildlife in human-dominated landscapes

March 25, 2016
Wildlife Conservation Society
Maintaining even the tiniest wildlife sanctuaries will help preserve some biodiversity in increasingly urbanized landscapes, a new report suggests.

A new study by a team of researchers from the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Manipal University, Centre for Wildlife Studies and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)-India, says that maintaining even the tiniest wildlife sanctuaries will help preserve some biodiversity in increasingly urbanized landscapes.

The authors of the study say their findings could have important implications in future land-use -- particularly in rapidly urbanizing regions where some wildlife still persist.

The researchers looked at populations of blackbuck -- a near threatened species of antelope -- in and around the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in Nannaj, Maharashtra in south-central India. Increasing encroachment by humans has fragmented grasslands into plantations, grazing areas and agricultural lands. The landscape is densely populated by humans and cattle and is representative of most semi-arid landscapes in India.

The researchers found that blackbuck preferred to stay in the safety of the sanctuary when food was abundant to avoid the risks associated with humans and livestock. But as food declined after the monsoon season, blackbuck began to move into riskier unprotected grasslands, thus responding dynamically to seasonally changing levels of food and risks in the different parts of the landscape.

This study finds that the presence of small sanctuaries or "refuges" in densely populated semi-arid landscapes allows these antelopes to survive, and provides clues as to why animals might be moving outside sanctuaries. A desperate search for food could thus be leading blackbuck to make seasonal changes in their movements and venture into more risky areas located outside the sanctuary.

These factors need to be taken into consideration as more grasslands are converted and developed for human use. This study shows that coexistence of conservation and development is possible, provided that wildlife are offered refuges, such as the small protected areas that constitute the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary.

Funded by the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi, this study examined how blackbuck reacted to the costs and benefits of living in this habitat. Researchers measured the amount and quality of grass, the major blackbuck food source, and identified risky areas, where blackbuck were most likely to come across wolves, dogs or humans.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Yarlagadda Chaitanya Krishna, Ajith Kumar, Kavita Isvaran. Wild Ungulate Decision-Making and the Role of Tiny Refuges in Human-Dominated Landscapes. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (3): e0151748 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151748

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Micro-sanctuaries key to survival of wildlife in human-dominated landscapes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2016. <>.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Rescue helicopter captures rare wolf footage

By Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor
Mar 24 2016
MISSOULA, Mont. - 
A video that has surfaced online features rare footage of a standoff between a bull elk and a Montana wolf pack. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife manager Mike Thompson says it is probably the best footage of its kind he's ever seen.

"The thing that is really unusual about this is that somebody captured it, and somebody had the opportunity to witness it," Thompson said. "It happens every day, but we don't get to see it every day."

The footage was captured last month by advanced cameras aboard Flathead-based Two Bear Air's rescue helicopter as it flew over the Camas Creek area.

When the video starts, a bull elk can be seen standing in a stream with a trail of blood behind it, which could indicate the elk has already been attacked.

It is when the camera is zoomed out and switched to infrared mode that the elk's dire situation becomes apparent. A pack of wolves can be seen surrounding the elk, many of them sitting patiently.

"Predators, in general, in some form or fashion, need to be patient," Thompson said. "Even the ambushing predators need to be patient. They will pass up lots of possibilities as they try to figure out what a real opportunity is."

Thompson said there have been no known conflicts in many decades between humans and wolves in Montana, but he said the video can serve as a reminder as conditions for hiking improve that other predators like bears and mountain lions are also becoming more active.


Idaho House backs another $400K to kill problem wolves, sends bill to governor

By Betsy Z. Russell

The ornate dome over the Idaho House chamber shines with the March light (Betsy Z. Russell) The ornate dome over the Idaho House chamber shines with the March light (Betsy Z. Russell)

The House has voted 57-13 to send another $400,000 in state general funds to the Wolf Depredation Control Board to kill problem wolves next year, sending the bill to Gov. Butch Otter’s desk.

SB 1414 passed the Senate, 29-5, yesterday. During that debate, Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, said, “I don’t mind killing depredating wolves, I think it’s fine, but we’re putting too much money into this account. To me, that’s not a responsible way to do budgeting.” Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, added, “That makes $6,000 per wolf.”

Rep. Van Burtenshaw, R-Terreton, the bill’s House sponsor, said, “The control of these wolves is expensive, and the depredation is appalling, and I would appreciate your green light on this appropriation.” There was no debate on the proposal in the House.

When the proposal cleared the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, Schmidt noted that the board hasn’t spent much of the money it’s already been allocated; he led a move to allocate just $110,000 more next year, saying that would fully fund the program. But that move fell short in JFAC.

In February, the wolf board contracted with U.S. Wildlife Services to shoot 20 wolves in the Lolo elk zone in an aerial operation. In 2015, the board killed 72 wolves. Its mission is to kill problem wolves that are preying on livestock or wildlife.


Wolf Plays with Dog Toy in Prince Rupert Backyard

A Prince Rupert woman has captured on video a wolf doing something you would normally see a dog doing!

Meaghan Brooke took to social media to upload the video of a wolf that wandered into her backyard and began playing with one of her dog’s toys. The wolf looks like a big puppy as it plays with the toy and runs around the yard, giddy with joy.

Brooke was on her deck when she noticed the animal in her yard, but moved inside after numerous stare downs had her fearing for her safety. The wolf stayed in the yard for about 10 minutes according to Brooke, before moving onto its next destination, with its new toy of course.
The video has now been shared hundreds of times on social media as people watch in awe as the wolf seemly just has a fun day in Prince Rupert.

 See the video here!


Wolf Pack Slaughters 19 Elk in Rare 'Surplus Killing'

Unusual behavior leaves game officials scratching their heads in Wyoming.

These elk were killed by wolves on the McNeel Elk Feedground near Bondurant, Wyoming, as photographed on March 25. Photograph by Ryan Dorgan

It's a popular saying that nothing goes to waste in nature. But occasionally, animals seem to kill for no discernable reason. (And it's not just murderous prairie dogs offing their competitors.) Foxes and wolves, among other predators, sometimes engage in surplus kills, when they take down more prey than they can likely eat.

#Wolves of the Day

hudsonbay wolf Hoenderdaell JN6A3149 
Hudson Bay Wolves by safi kok